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Voices from the Community: Why We Should Spend More

Los Cerritos Community Newspaper welcomes your opinion and thoughts on issues important to all of us. This is from Bell community leader Mario Rivas.

Mario Rivas

Mario Rivas

By Mario Rivas

Spend more? Given the economic malaise we find ourselves in as a nation, is this a good idea? One would think that it wouldn’t be, especially since we’re in a 15 trillion dollar deficit and worsening job outlook. The resent jobs report from the Labor Department showed that less 70,000 jobs were created. More worrisome is the looming slowdown from China and the troubles in Europe.

So what would make this the opportune time for America to invest in itself?

It’s important to put things in perspective. Although the jobless of rate in the U.S is hovering at 8.2%, it doesn’t compare to Greece’s almost 22% or Spain’s 24%. What’s troubling these European countries is the rate in which they pay to borrow money, which is currently nearing 6%. In contrast, investors are flocking to U.S bonds where we are now paying a record low 1.5%. Economists and investors, by in large, believe that the U.S economy is a safe bet and thus driving the record low yields on our debt.

Let’s face it, our economy is expanding, if not modestly showing steady gains in energy production, manufacturing, and services. Despite the jobs report, it is clear that what can keep the U.S economy going is employment and renewed investment in alternative energy and infrastructure. This should also be followed by more investment in education and job training.

We know that the economy is going through a tough transition. Record high energy costs are to blame for much of our economic woes. One need only study history to see the last transition, which occurred during the 1930’s. We know it as the great depression and it was largely agricultural based. The way in which the economy recovered at that time was with industrial growth largely due to WWII.

There is an industrial opportunity, in our time, to build our energy infrastructure. This is an opportunity in clean energy and investment in the future. Our current political divide is a hindrance to common sense investment in clean alternative energy and progressive policies that could take us forward. The industrial growth seen after WWII continued and made us strong. With that growth we built infrastructure and highways, expanded our suburbs, kept unemployment low and created first class educational opportunities, which were the envy of the world.

We now need to invest in America using new technologies bought from borrowed money with record low interest rates. We often blame corporations for hoarding money, but there is evidence that corporations are also investing. They are buying up efficient ways to cut costs and improve efficiency. These efficiencies have often sadly led to unemployment. The U.S can do the same, but instead of letting people go unemployed, we could hire them and train them to build and improve our infrastructure. Doing this could grow our economy and take us forward, making us strong again.

(Mario Rivas served two deployments of Operation Iraqi Freedom in the United States Marine Corps. He now serves in the California Army National Guard as a Captain and company commander. He is an alumnus of the Veterans Leadership Academy at the Truman National Security Project. He is an active resident in the City of Bell).